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A new opinion poll prepared by the Lowy Institute provides stark and surprising insights into what the people of India think about their future and the world.
The India Poll 2013, prepared by the Lowy Institute in partnership with the Australia India Institute, reveals that most Indians are positive about their economic prospects, supportive of democratic rights and deeply opposed to corruption. And an overwhelming majority of Indians (80-85%) consider that potential shortages of energy, food and water are ‘big threats’ to their country’s security. It was launched today (20 May) at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.
“The poll also reveals Indians’ hopes and fears about relations with other countries, especially China, Pakistan and the United States,” said the author of the poll report and director of the Lowy Institute’s international security program, Rory Medcalf.
The poll shows that 94% of Indians see Pakistan as a security threat, while 83% of Indians seen China as a security threat. At the same time, 76% of Indians think their leaders should take the initiative in building peace with Pakistan, and 63% would like relations with China to strengthen.
“With Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visiting India this week, the poll results suggest that China and India face major challenges in achieving trust and cooperation,” said Mr Medcalf.
According to the poll, Indians feel more warmly towards the United States than to any other country and 75% want India-US ties to strengthen further. Indians also feel more warmly towards Japan, Singapore and Australia than towards their fellow so-called BRICS nations – including Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.
Professor Amitabh Mattoo, Director of the Australia India Institute, said: "The poll suggests that Indians are deeply apprehensive about perceived threats posed by China, but most still want better relations with Beijing and would welcome a reconciliatory move towards Pakistan by the Indian political leadership. The poll also confirms the 'argumentative' Indian's great faith in democracy."
The poll indicates that the citizens of the world’s largest democracy are exceptionally attached to their armed forces with 95% seeing the possession of a strong military as very important for India to achieve its aims in the world.
In domestic policy, the poll shows that Indians consider that maintaining social peace and harmony should be the highest priority for their government. The poll reflected strong attitudes about corruption, with 92% of Indians considering that corruption had increased in the past five year and 96% saying that corruption was holding India back.
The India Poll 2013, Facing the Future: Indian Attitudes to the World Ahead, reports the results of a nationally representative opinion survey of 1233 Indian adults conducted face-to-face between 30 August and 15 October 2012. The poll was managed by the Lowy Institute under a grant from the Australia India Institute, with additional support from the MacArthur Foundation.
The full poll report can be downloaded from the Lowy Institute website, including a short video with Poll author, Rory Medcalf.
Follow the Poll on Twitter #IndiaPoll2013 @LowyInstitute @RoryMedcalf